I wanted to show you some new custom LEGO accessories from one of my favorite LEGO customizers, Arealight Customs. Bluce Shu (a.k.a. Arealight) is a very talented LEGO customizer from Taiwan I have been following from the time he casted each items from resin by hand years ago. Due to high demand for his products, Arealight eventually upgraded to more modern methods using ABS plastic mouldings and pad-printing.
Arealight mostly focuses on Star Wars related custom LEGO accessories, however in the past he also produced historic items like Asian-style helmets, and just recently (and finally!) he reproduced his original resin-cast minifig cape from soft ABS plastic – along with several other soft plastic items. When Arealight originally made these capes from resin they were one of his most popular items. The beautiful flowing design was perfect for warriors, Jedi masters, and wondering outcasts. I have 16 of these original capes in red and dark-red for my Greek warriors (see below), and they are some of my most treasured custom LEGO items. (They were very expensive those days because of the hand-casting process.)
Arealight – being the perfectionist he is – wasn’t entirely happy with the capes though. Because they were made of resin – which is like rigid ABS plastic – they limited the movement of minifigs. Arealight was especially unhappy that minifigs using his capes could not ride on horses. So he experimented with various materials to try to make the capes more flexible, as myself and other fans of the original capes were patiently waiting. And we had to wait for years! Eventually Arealight found a type of plastic that had both durability and flexibility that made it work!
Earlier this year Arealight sent out the following announcement: “Hey, everyone! We are very excited to announce that we will be releasing our new soft mould items. We’ve spent a long time working on this mould and hope you like it! It includes lots of new pieces and an old fan favorite. This new mould consists of seven different pieces: a one sided pauldron, a two sided pauldron, a shawl, a hood, a loin-cloth (with different designs on each side), a waist-cape, and a cape. These pieces are produced from a soft plastic – not rubber – for a nice shiny sheen. Happy customizing!”
I placed an order instantly. I would have been very happy with even regular ABS plastic capes as the limit in movement didn’t bother me, but these more flexible ones are even better! And yes, now caped minifigs can now ride horses too! Also, now so many more colors are available than in the past: white, dark-red, dark-blue, dark-green, dark-gray, dark-tan, brown, black! And they are only $2 each! All my minifigs wanted them! 🙄
Besides the original capes, Arealight released some other, new designs in soft plastic: a nicely flowing shawl, a hood that works really well with either the shawl or the cape – or even both! There are also a couple of pauldrons and a waist-cape. Then there is the loin-cloth which is my new favorite piece; it has a different designs at the front and the back, and you can choose how you want your minifigs to wear it.
You really have to see Arealight’s custom LEGO elements personally to fully appreciate their beauty. One of the things I like most about them is that they are quite thin, while remaining sturdy. They really don’t take up any more space between minifig body parts than a cloth cape or waist-cape would, so they look quite natural with no extra bulk or thickness added. The soft plastic feels really nice. It is basically like ABS plastic, but with some flexibility. It also has the nice shine of ABS plastic. Much better than rubber that tends to get rigid and crack with age, and also pick up dirt easily. (By the way, in case you were curious, I never had any problems with the original hand-casted resin capes; they look and feel like durable ABS plastic, and they are now 7 years old. So resin is definitely a good option for LEGO customizers who are just producing small batches of items for themselves.)
Anyhow, I’m super happy with these new custom LEGO elements, and just wanted to share them with you. If you are interested to get some, you can order them directly from Arealight’s Online Shop. Please note that Arealight ships directly from Taiwan, so it takes about 10 days for your package to arrive. You can also order from official resellers in the USA, UK, Canada, etc. at this link. And you can also find more pictures at Arealight’s flickr gallery.
If you already have some of Arealight’s custom LEGO accessories and would like to share your own review, feel free to include it in the comment section below. I’m sure other readers would appreciate it. And if you would like to learn more about Arealight’s products, you can check out the following links to earlier articles I wrote about them: